I recently partnered with Le Creuset to giveaway one of their amazing French Oven pots, the same one I own and love. I was so happy to be able to give one to one of my readers because I know that these expensive cookware items are hard to buy on a limited budget.
But like I said in my giveaway/review post, you won’t regret buying one (unless you mind how heavy-weight they are – that’s the only complaint I’ve ever heard about them.) The question for many of us is, how to buy them when they are so expensive? There are a variety of problems with leaching cookware, but enameled cast iron pots like Le Creuset are generally considered one of the safest choices. A healthy diet is not just confined to the food we eat, but what we cook in is also an important part of a low-toxic lifestyle, which is why this post is part of my 52 ways to save money on a healthy diet series.
I hope to start phasing out my cheap stainless steel pots –as they can leach nickel into food –but without a big budget for new kitchenware, this will take time. But I definitely am planning on buying them for as good of a deal as I can! I use my 7 1/4 French Oven pretty much every day, and I would love to have another at some point.
You can’t get away from them being an investment, but there are ways to save on them. I was lucky enough to buy mine for half off, for example. Here are some of the ways I know of to save big on Le Creuset.
Look for seconds
Seconds are Le Creuset pots that are completely useable, but have very small flaws, and as such, are marked down. They often have a red sticker on them. I have seen them at Le Creuset outlet stores. You can find a list of outlet stores here. While still spendy, they are generally significantly marked down. However, the best time to buy them is when they are doing a storewide sale. That’s when you can really get a steep discount.
We don’t have these two stores near us, but I’ve heard that both Marshall’s and TJ Maxx will sometimes sell seconds as well.
Look for discontinued colors
I got my French oven when a local kitchen store stopped carrying that color of Le Creuset, and was making room to bring in other colors. Keeping track of local kitchen deals and steals can be worth the trouble when shopping for bigger items, like Le Creuset – you just may have to be patient.
Check out Tuesday Morning
Tuesday morning features big brand names at big discounts, and some people buy all of the their Le Crueset there. I haven’t shopped there yet myself, but from what I understand, to get the best deals you should sign up for their email updates, and then get up there early on the sale day to ensure being able to buy what you want. This option is great for those who love the rush of Black Friday, because some locations can get rather hectic, from what I’ve heard.
If you are a thrift store and yard sale fanatic, obviously keeping an eye out for Le Creuset makes sense, though patience (and some luck!) will be your friend here. However, there are other options for buying used as well. You can use Craigslist to find local people selling specific items like Le Creuset. (I believe they have a feature that notifies you when a certain item in your area has been listed too!) Often people having a big garage sale will list their big items on Craigslist as well, and if Le Creuset is listed, you can always try to strike a deal before the date of the sale to ensure you get it. Ebay is also an avenue worth exploring! I checked what is listed right now, and there are some definite savings worth checking out. Just make sure you don’t spend your savings in shipping, considering that Le Creuset is heavy.
When buying Le Creuset, it would also be wise to keep a price list, so you can compare and see how good of a deal that specific piece really is. Looking at Amazon.com, and writing down the prices for the pieces you want is a good place to start, since they never sell full price there to start with.
What about other brands?
There are a couple of other brands of enameled cast iron pots, including Lodge Color Dutch Oven (the cast iron pot is made in the US, and then it is enameled in China), which is much, much cheaper. I have gone back and forth about purchasing one. Some who have both the Le Creuset and the Lodge say that they seem about the same. Others have had more problems with the Lodge enameling chipping, and/or feeling that the design isn’t as good. Others say that they work well, just won’t last as long as Le Creuset (which is more of a lifetime investment). Many are troubled that they are enameled in China, instead of France (which Le Creuset is). Martha Stewart has her own line that is also significantly cheaper than Le Creuset as well. It’s a hard call, but I am thinking about buying a second pot in another brand so that I can compare the two.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you own any enameled cast iron? Have any other tips for saving on them?